Ohio State Loaded with Defensive Recruits in Advance of National Signing Day

By Patrick Schmidt
Rob Leifheit-USA TODAY Sports

The first season for Urban Meyer at Ohio State could not have gone much better as the Buckeyes finished with a 12-0 record, and that success is paying off on the recruiting trail.

Currently, Meyer has the No. 4 ranked recruiting class according to ESPN and a quick look at the incoming recruits shows where Meyer and his staff decided to put their focus on.

Five of the top six ranked recruits are on the defensive side of the ball led by cornerbacks Eli Apple (Voorhees, Nj., Eastern) and Gareon Conley (Massillon, Oh., Washington) and linebacker Trey Johnson (Lawrenceville, Ga., Central Gwinnett) who is a former Auburn commit.

Meyer has a reputation as one of the game’s best recruiters and he has used the pipeline into the southeast he built while was winning two national championships at Florida to secure four-star defensive tackle, Joey Bosa (Fort Lauderdale, Fl., Saint Thomas Aquinas) to join an young and talented defensive line core.

Meyer’s first recruiting class focused on defense much like this year’s class, but while the 2013 class is looking to bolster the secondary, the 2012 class was all about the defensive line.

After Meyer was hired he quickly got a commitment from the No. 4 player in the nation, Noah Spence (Harrisburg, Pa., Bishop McDevitt) and No. 7 end, Adolphus Washington (Cincinnati, Oh., Robert A. Taft) while flipping Michigan State end commit Se’Von Pittman (Canton, Oh., McKinley) and Penn State tackle commit Tommy Schutt (Glen Ellyn, Il., Glenbard West). In total five of the top six recruits last year were defensive linemen.

With this year’s reinforcements in the secondary and Johnson, the nation’s No. 2 ranked inside linebacker, the Buckeyes defense will be one of the youngest in the Big Ten, but also one of the most talented in the conference.

The 2013 recruiting class will get an added boost if they get four-star safety, Vonn Bell, to commit on National Signing Day to give the Buckeyes the best group of defensive backs in the nation–by a wide margin.

Meyer has been criticized in the past for continuing to recruit prospects that have already given an oral commitment to a school, and whether you approve of that style or not, it’s a practice an overwhelming majority of coaches use up until National Signing Day.

One committed player that Meyer is trying to get is Oregon recruit, Dontre Wilson (DeSoto, Tx., DeSoto) who has an official visit this past weekend. The 5-10 175-pound athlete could play a role similar to that of Percy Harvin whom Meyer coached at Florida and line up in the backfield and as a receiver.

With National Signing Day less than a week away, Meyer has positioned his team to have a top-six recruiting class for the second straight year and will be the prohibitive favorites to win the Big Ten in 2013 with a young and skilled defense complementing Heisman candidate Braxton Miller.

Follow me on Twitter @PatrickASchmidt

Patrick is the host of “The Wake-up Call,” on Sportstownchicago.com airing Wednesday mornings from 8-10. View his show’s website here.

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